Trip Log – Day 385 – Selma AL to Montgomery AL

to-montgomeryDecember 8, 2016 – Cloudy, 50 degrees

Miles Today: 69

Miles to Date: 20,054

States to Date: 47 

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In 1964, on the steps of the Alabama State Capital, where segregationist George Wallace served as governor, four months before President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, Martin Luther King Jr. made a speech at the close of the five day march from Selma to Montgomery. He paraphrased Unitarian Theodore Parker in a quote now largely attributed to MLK. I never heard it until I began this trip, but it has become my mantra, my lens, for understanding what I hear and see across our country.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

img_8703We do not always move forward, all of our strides are not in the optimal direction, but over time, we move toward equality, towards peace, towards love.

As I pedaled today my legs empathized with the effort of the marchers demanding their right to vote. But I my mind also pondered the White Supremacists. Surely they knew, in their hearts, their case was unjust. We are all victims of our perspective. The more our perspective is tainted by power, and fear, the more distorted it becomes. Segregationists did not construe their actions as hate; they couched their bigotry as heritage, as honor. But maiming unarmed people and denying citizens basic rights moves beyond the bounds of tolerance. It is wrong.

The march from Selma to Montgomery would not have taken place if the eyes of the wider nation had not peered into Selma’s soul and found it rotten. But the rest of us have no cause to be snug. We did not respond in horror when a Black man was killed; we only acted after inhuman violence flooded out living room TV’s and a White minister was murdered. Circumstances that propel us towards justice are not as pure as we pretend.

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Still we make progress. The progress is slower than my legs can pedal. It is slower than thousands of protestors can walk. But it is progress nonetheless.

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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